New & Used Acura RLX: In Depth
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The Acura RLX is a full-size luxury sedan. It replaced the RL in the brand's lineup starting with the 2014 model year. The RLX is supposed to move Acura upmarket with its pricing and equipment options.
As the biggest, most technology-rich offering in the Acura lineup, the RLX brings with it several new features that highlight its place in the brand. A new all-wheel-drive system with advanced torque vectoring is the basis for the hybrid model. The front-drive version, meanwhile, has rear-wheel steering, delivered by a pair of rear-wheel actuators linked by wire to the electric power steering system.
MORE: Read our 2014 Acura RLX review for pricing with options, specifications, and gas mileage ratings
Technology aside, the more luxurious and spacious interior may be just as deserving of the new name. With 2 inches more in the wheelbase and 2 inches greater width, the RLX offers more cabin space in about the same length as the old RL.
Styling is attractive but hardly radical, with a typically aggressive Acura stance and a smooth, arched roofline fronted by 'Jewel Eye' LED headlamps—framed in a dual-stacked array, with ultra-reflective optical lenses, that should be distinctive day or night.
The RLX gets its power from a version of Honda's 3.5-liter V-6. On front-wheel-drive models, it makes 310 horsepower and is paired with a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters and a sport shift setting. The RLX Sport Hybrid pairs the V-6 with a trio of electric motors, one situated with the engine and transmission on the front axle and two for the rear axle to provide all-wheel drive and torque vectoring, which helps save weight compared to the previous mechanical SH-AWD system. The Sport Hybrid uses a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic and returns a 30-mpg EPA combined rating.
All RLX models include both Forward Collision Warning and Lane Departure Warning, with Lane Keep Assist as an addition to the latter. The RLX has aced the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's tests, earning it the Top Safety Pick Plus award from the IIHS. Although the RLX has not gone through the Federal government's testing yet, Acura is confident that the new model will earn a top five-star rating with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Outside of the choice to go hybrid/AWD or not, the Acura RLX comes in five trim grades: RLX, RLX with Navigation, RLX with Technology package, RLX with Krell Audio package, and RLX with Advance package. The navigation system now includes surface-street traffic, and security features include stolen vehicle tracking, airbag deployment notification remote locking and unlocking, and 24-hour concierge services. Infotainment systems use both an embedded data connection and smartphone integration. The RLX will feature a next-generation AcuraLink Communication system, with dual LCD display screens, high-end audio, the Aha streaming-audio interface, and an expanded range of infotainment and connectivity features.
While the Sport Hybrid model was sold briefly as a 2014 model, Acura has remained quiet about a 2015 version even though front-drive 2015s are already available. There are still some 2014 hybrids on dealer lots for those interested. This on-again-off-again sales situation could signal an issue that Acura found with the cars, possibly for something the company wants to improve before building more. Acura has been delaying products of late, including the new TLX sedan, to make sure they're ready for consumption, and something similar could be holding up new models of the interesting all-wheel-drive hybrid RLX. There's no word on precisely when the RLX hybrid will go back into production.